The art of tea

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Dec 23 2012

Tags: , ,

Category: Asia, Japan

1 Comment

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Looking at the photos in each of the last four posts, I highlighted a concept that is central to Zen or – in broader terms – to traditional Japanese culture. With the photo of the display in the Tokonoma I brought the word ‘harmony’ into focus, but ‘respect’, ‘purity’, or ‘tranquillity’ would not have been out of place either. The same could be said for the three other photos and accompanying concepts.

For his book “Tea life, Tea mind”, Soshitsu Sen has chosen the association of these four words, beautifully formed with his own calligraphic skill, not merely as an illustration for the book, but as representation of its essence. Without a full understanding of the qualities these four concepts imply; without making them one’s own, and internalizing them, one can not really perform and experience the art of tea.

In the end it all comes down to developing – through hard labour no doubt – the right state of mind: a harmonious, respectful, pure, tranquil mind. Then, the tea mind, the Zen mind, the garden mind, the arts mind, the kaiseki mind, all become one and the same: a mind that is capable of producing and appreciating all those beautiful works of exceptional aesthetic finesse and artistic quality as we know them from Japanese culture.

And what about the Pachinko mind? That we’ll keep for another post.

Photo of the week: still (frame) of a Japanese tea ceremony, taken from my film Journeys in Clay, 2009

One comment on “The art of tea”

  1. Brilliant photograph, I liked the whole series – and Journeys in Clay was a fabulous film, Louk. Love the commentary.


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